I don’t know what comes next.
I mean, I really have no idea what I’m going to do. There will be things that I’ve started (raising kids, building the greenhouse, making the beer) that need finishing. (And by “finishing,” I mean, “continued commitment over a period of days-to-months-to-years-to-TheRestOfMyLife without which all previous effort is wasted”) But when people ask me, “What do you do?”
I just don’t know.
I don’t believe that I can slap on a bunch of identities and pretend that somehow I’ve answered the question, although that is the convenient (and accepted) way of doing things. “Tell me which boxes you fit in, and then I’ll know what to talk to you about.” I tried that. It sucked.
Yet I’ve spent the last several months trying to answer this question, because I am assured that without a valid answer, I will never Make Anything Of Myself. That is to say, I may continue to be somebody’s wife and mother, but nobody will ever pay me for any of the things I already know how to do if I can’t package them up into a nice neat package. With a job title. Or a snappy statement of problem and solution. (I help people who something something… by doing something something… and then their lives are spectacular and they become millionaires! Of course, if I knew how to do that, I would have done it by now. Because sure, money won’t buy happiness… but it would buy me a trip to the Caribbean, and that might be fun. Or solar panels, and that would be cool!) And (They say) if I can’t answer this question, nobody will ever pay me to do anything more interesting than move objects around and occasionally hand them to other people ever again. No pressure.
What I do: I Think. A Lot. I slide from one worldview to another the way that most people change their clothes. I insist that this is a good thing. I refuse, steadfastly, to take a stand without adequate evidence. Sometimes I believe in god, sometimes I believe in gods, and occasionally I even believe in G*d. (But not very often.) And sometimes I don’t. I have moments of complete nihilism, although they are becoming fewer and farther between, being replaced with the ground of a firm agnosticism and meditation practice. Sometimes I am absolutely convinced that I’ve got it figured out, and that I’ve got something that is worth teaching… which is, I think, how to be comfortable in your life even when you aren’t sure of anything. See how that’s a hard thing to pin down? Slippery, that. Dancing your way through The World As it Is. Even when you don’t know how that world is.
This is the essence of Practice – to hear the music and let it move you. To find your core strength so that you can dance with abandon. To bring yourself into balance again, and again, and again, whether your house is tidy or not, whether your clothes reflect your inner self or not, whether you perceive your body to be what everybody else (the mythic They) wants it to be… or not. Whether you have managed to meet even one of the targets on this month’s women’s magazines, or business magazines, or any of the other ways our society finds to remind you, “Oh, yeah. You suck!” To find joy in embodied consciousness, even when you are waking up with existential angst at 3 in the morning. Perfection in imperfection. Spectacular mediocrity. How to have the best-damn-average life out there and revel in it!
There have been times in my life when I Knew. I always turned out to be wrong. Now, I don’t know… but I have a vague feeling that I might be right for a change.